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Cat Clash 2020: Rivalry still 'big' for Jaguars, Wildcats

By Bill Althaus
Blue Springs South's Luke Fellers (18) carries the ball in last year's game against Blue Springs. Fellers and the Jaguars will try to snap Blue Springs' six-game winning streak in the Cat Clash series when they host the Wildcats Friday night.

When you have storied football programs like crosstown rivals Blue Springs and Blue Springs South, every game is big.

But one game grabs a little extra attention.

First-year Blue Springs coach David White is discovering what Cat Clash Week is all about in 2020 as he takes his Wildcats (3-4, 2-4 Suburban Big Eight) to meet coach Matt Klein’s Jaguars (1-6, 0-5) at 7 p.m. Friday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.

“I found out what Cat Clash Week was all about last year, my first season coaching at South,” Klein said. “We brought in some guest speakers who talked about the game, and what it means to our community, and I think I learned as much – or maybe even more – than our players.

“We know them. Their players know our guys, we all live in this community, and it’s a big game. Now, like I tell our guys, we take games a week at time and prepare for each opponent the same way – but yeah, this is a big game.”

White – who replaced Kelly Donohoe after a 20-year stint in which he won more games (191) than any other big class school in the area – knows what big games are all about. Despite the teams’ records, it still means a lot.

“This is a big one, you can just feel it,” said White, as the Wildcats have a countdown clock on the homepage of their website ( ticking down the minutes, seconds and hours until kickoff.

Blue Springs leads the overall series 19-10, and has won 13 of the last 14 games, including the last six. The Jaguars’ last win came in 2015, their undefeated state championship campaign in which they edged the Wildcats 27-24.

“I’ve never lost to South – none of us have ever lost to South,” Wildcats senior wide receiver Isaac Harkness said. “This game is so big – big for both teams. Big for both schools. Big for the community.

“And we’re playing so well right now. We’re coming off that big (43-36) win over (seventh-ranked) Lee’s Summit West and we all went into that game knowing we could win. A lot of people were surprised but we’re not. We’re playing our best football right now, just like Coach White said we would.”

Blue Springs all-state offensive lineman Beau Stephens said it took time to get comfortable in White’s new system, but now the Wildcats are feeling good.

“We have a new coach, a new offense and it takes time to get out on the field and just play, and not have to think about what we’re doing,” Stephens said. “We’re out there playing and we’re playing with a lot of confidence. 

“You can see the confidence grow at practice and you can really see it on Friday nights.”

Senior Patrick Maloney, the Wildcats’ starting quarterback, said this team hopes to roll into the postseason on a winning streak.

“The win over West was big, and a win over Blue Springs South would be big too, because it means we’re maintaining our momentum,” Maloney said. “I’m really feeling confident running our offense. Coach White has confidence in me and all the guys on offense. And that just motivates us and makes us want to go out and make everyone proud.”

Like most players on each side of the ball, Maloney has a long history of watching the annual Cat Clash.

“I don’t remember any players from when I first started going, because I was really young,” Maloney said, “but I knew how big the game was and I dreamed about playing in it.

“And now, I’m the starting quarterback for the Blue Springs Wildcats and we’re playing Blue Springs South this week. It’s like a dream come true.”

Those are words that ring true for Harkness.

“In the summer, we’re all wondering if we’re even going to be able to play football this fall,” Harkness said, “and now we’re in Week 8 and we’re playing South.

“I’m a senior, we’re playing football, we’re playing South. Man, I feel so blessed.”

Cat Clash history

Blue Springs leads series 19-10

1994: BS South 38, Blue Springs 13 — Eddie Brooks’ 3 TDs lead Jaguars in first clash.

1996: Blue Springs 7, BS South 6, OT — Ladell Betts’ 155 second-half yards help Wildcats even series.

1997: Blue Springs 20, BS South 6 — Joe Kinder’s 3 TD passes stop Jaguars.

1998: BS South 35, Blue Springs 28 — Jeff Keele’s 2 interceptions, 2 sacks spark Jag upset.

1999: BS South 32, Blue Springs 13 — David Harris’ TD catch and key interception powers Jags.

2000: Blue Springs 20, BS South 10 — Wildcats rally from 10-6 deficit.

2001: Blue Springs 15, BS South 14 — Andrew Tuggle gets winning TD with broken shoulder.

2002: BS South 21, Blue Springs 10 — South sparked by Brandon Beecher TD run, key interception

2003: Blue Springs 21, BS South 12 — Cats get four interceptions, one for a touchdown.

2004: Blue Springs 14, BS South 13 — Jordan Pellock blocks Jags’ last-second FG attempt.

2005: BS South 28, Blue Springs 21 — Jeremy Mack’s 2 TD catches, 3 interceptions lift Jaguars.

2006: BS South 34, Blue Springs 3 — Jags QB Blaine Dalton and stellar defense prevail.

2006: BS South 28, Blue Springs 24 — Dalton throws 4 TDs, including winner to Kellen Bartlett.

2007: BS South 24, Blue Springs 14 — Dalton rides again with 3 TDs (2 passing, 1 running).

2008: BS South 42, Blue Springs 15 — Dalton stars again to pummel undefeated Wildcats.

2009: Blue Springs 42, BS South 0 — Blue Springs’ Darrian Miller rushes for six touchdowns.

2010: Blue Springs 42, BS South 35, 2OT — Miller leads Wildcat comeback from 28-6 third-quarter deficit.

2011: Blue Springs 26, BS South 21 — Despite injury, Kyle Brown leads Cats with 2 TD runs, TD pass.

2012: Blue Springs 35, BS South 14 — DB Donte Watkins, defense spark Wildcats in rout.

2013: Blue Springs 35, BS South 0 — Kaleb Prewett’s two touchdowns help boost Wildcats.

2013: Blue Springs 40, BS South 0 — Dalvin Warmack rushes for 234 yards, 4 TDs in district win.

2014: Blue Springs 31, BS South 21 — Special teams scores help Wildcats hold off Jags’ upset bid.

2015: BS South 27, Blue Springs 24 Jake Roark’s late FG helps Jags hold on, halt skid in series.

2016: Blue Springs 31, BS South 17 — Pick-sixes by Jackson Blauw, Stephen Benson boost Wildcats.

2017: Blue Springs 20, BS South 3 — Chase Donohoe throws 2 TD passes, runs for one in Cats win.

2017: Blue Springs 35, BS South 17 — Wildcats get little of everything to win Class 6 District 3 final.

2018: Blue Springs 38, BS South 14 — Aveion Bailey runs for 135 yards and 3 TDs as Cats dominate.

2018: Blue Springs 31, BS South 21 — Bailey’s 263 yards, QB bootleg TD lift Cats in district semifinal.

2019: Blue Springs 35, BS South 17 — Quentin Fontenot rushes for 315 yards and 5 TDs to boost Wildcats.

2020: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium, Blue Springs South High School